Supporting After-School Initiative | AspenTimes.com

Supporting After-School Initiative

Editor’s note: This letter was sent to Basalt Town Council and Pitkin and Eagle county commissioners.

Dear Editor:

The Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) is proud to be an original (founding) participant in Access Roaring Fork’s (ARF) After-School Initiative. When ARF Executive Director Steve Kaufman offered our organization the chance to participate in this program two years ago, the AMFS decided to create two distinct music classes – first, lead guitar at Carbondale Middle School and now, music by you at Basalt Middle School. Through our M.O.R.E. Program (Musical Odysseys Reaching Everyone), educational outreach forms a core part of our organization’s mission, and our alliance with the After-School Initiative makes these dynamic programs a reality.

The AMFS brings musical educational residencies to 22 elementary, middle, and high schools in the Aspen, Roaring Fork, and Garfield School Districts, as well as a few private and charter schools with close to 7,000 students participating. Our new after-school lead-guitar program was specifically located at Carbondale Middle School with the highest at risk population in the valley. Some students in this class have no other outlet of activity and it is gratifying to see their dedication.

This year’s addition of music by you is a preliminary class for our yearly Composer Forum and teaches students at Basalt Middle School to express themselves musically. The AMFS programs supported by ARF benefit the entire community, making music accessible to the community and providing a safe-haven for students after school. Each of the programs offers students in the Roaring Fork Valley unique learning opportunities that foster their educational growth; these program also create a vital and nurturing environment for students after school.

The After-School Initiative is encouraged and grateful for the financial support from Garfield County, the town of Carbondale, the Aspen Community Foundation and Laurie Michaels Bonderman. However, the need for funding to operate our programs exceeds these contributions, making funding from Basalt Town Council, Eagle and Pitkin counties essential for the continued success of these programs.

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While Pitkin County’s Healthy Community Fund helps many worthy causes, the safety and education of our children after school requires a more serious commitment. The initiative has received no money from the town of Basalt; nevertheless the initiative is committed to having a program in place there. As a participating entity of this program, I urge everyone in the town of Basalt and these counties to contact their representatives/commissioners to ask for their support for the After-School Initiative. Commissioners and Town Council, please consider the value ARF programs offer our students and help to support our outstanding local youth by voting to fund ARF in the 2010 budget as a line-item.

Deborah Barnekow

Director of Educational Outreach

Aspen Music Festival and School